A fire destroyed not only a piece of Toronto's history on Jarvis Street Monday morning, but also a piece of a prominent family's past.
Flames swept through a heritage home at 314 Jarvis St., which was once owned by the Sheard family of Toronto. It was the first house Sarah Sheard lived in with her parents in 1953.
"It's a heartbreak to me to hear that it's been pretty much gutted by fire, and will likely be demolished," said Sheard during a telephone interview Monday morning.
The house was built in 1865, and it was altered in 1901 by architect Matthew Sheard for his brother, Dr. Charles Sheard.
He was Toronto's Chief Medical Officer of Health and also served as a member of parliament from 1917-1925. Sheard's father, Joseph Sheard, was an architect and served as Mayor of Toronto from 1871 to 1872.
Dr. Sheard's wife, Virna Sheard, was a prominent poet. They were Sarah Sheard's great-grandparents.
Decades later, the property was divided into apartments after a request from the city, which was trying to create more rental space during the Second World War.
The home was eventually sold to a developer, whose proposal for a 43-storey condo building at the site was rejected by the city.
The developer has appealed that ruling.
"I always had a great fondness for 314. It's sort of a little old piece of history, embedded in post-modern Toronto," Sarah Sheard told CBC News.
Sheard's father died last year, and his death prompted her to dig into her family's past, including the home.
"I definitely remember my father talking fondly of it. It just was part of our family," said Sheard.
She has been in the process of drafting a family memoir.
"The last thing I wanted to hear was that this fantastic old building had got destroyed before I had a chance really to go over there and video, and do some other things."
The only piece of the home Sheard has left is a bed that she inherited after her father died that has been passed down through the generations.
Sheard says she still will push through with her memoir.
"It's my loss, and the price I paid for waiting just a little bit too long," Sheard said. "Don't wait, I guess is the lesson in all of this."